iPhone users in China can now use WeChat Pay for App Store and Apple Music purchases

WeChat Pay, a digital wallet service incorporated into WeChat, China’s tremendously popular social network service, can now be used as a payment method for App Store and Apple Music purchases in the country.

Apple has officially confirmed the news to Chinese news organizations today.

The Cupertino technology giant said in an official statement:

We are glad to offer users in mainland China the option of WeChat Pay for their favorite mobile app or Apple Music products. We continue to be dedicated to provide multiple simple and convenient payment methods for customers within the Apple ecosystem.

WeChat Pay cannot be used as a payment method for iTunes Store and iBooks Store because those digital stores currently do no operate in China. The iPhone maker previously accepted Alibaba’s Alipay as a mobile payment option for purchases conducted within its ecosystem.

WeChat Pay, the country’s second most popular mobile payments service, holds an Analysys-estimated 39.5 percent market share. At the end of the first quarter this year, AliPay, the leading mobile payments service in China, had a 53.7 percent market share in China’s third-party mobile payment market.

The $5.5 trillion mobile payments market in China is led, of course, by AliPay and WeChat Pay, which control a combined 91 percent of the market.

By comparison, Apple Pay was a distant third with barely one percent of the market. WeChat is actually part of the reason why Apple Pay has failed to gain market traction 20 months after its debut in the 1.33 billion people country.

It’s the most important mobile app in China with nearly one billion monthly active users.

Chinese use WeChat to do just about anything, from messaging and video/audio calling to playing games, sending money to people, ordering food, hailing cabs, reading news, booking doctor appointments and much, much more.

As such, all smartphone users in China need is WeChat and its selection of supported apps and services that conveniently bypass Apple Pay, Apple News, iMessage and a bunch of other services that make iOS a very sticky platform in other parts of the world.

Fun fact: In Chinese, WeChat’s name is ”Weixin,” which means “micro message.”